Flat racing
Flat racing is a form of Thoroughbred horse racing which is run over a level track at a predetermined distance. It differs from steeplechase
Steeplechase may refer to:* Steeplechase, an event in horse racing* SteepleChase, a Danish jazz label* Steeplechase , a 1975 arcade game released by Atari...

 racing which is run over hurdle
A hurdle is a moveable section of light fence. Traditionally they were made from wattle , but modern hurdles are often made of metal. Hurdles are used for handling livestock, as decorative fencing, for horse racing and in the track and field event of hurdling.-Types:*Traditional hurdles are made...

s. The race is a test of speed, stamina, and the skill of the jockey
A jockey is an athlete who rides horses in horse racing or steeplechase racing, primarily as a profession. The word also applies to camel riders in camel racing.-Etymology:...

 in determining when to restrain the horse or to impel it.

The flat races in Great Britain are run over a variety of distances from five furlong
A furlong is a measure of distance in imperial units and U.S. customary units equal to one-eighth of a mile, equivalent to 220 yards, 660 feet, 40 rods, or 10 chains. The exact value of the furlong varies slightly among English-speaking countries....

s (1,006 m) to over two miles (3,219 m) and are generally called sprints, middle distance or stayers races.

Racing takes place on a natural grass surface (turf) or on a synthetic surface (all-weather). Racing in Europe is generally on turf, while in the United States and Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

, the more important races are on dirt or all-weather. Indeed, nearly all North American races are flat races, as steeplechase racing is very infrequent and largely confined to short, specialized race meets. There, the term "flat racing" is rarely used, as the form is so predominant.

In Europe, the two most powerful "teams" are Coolmore Stud
Coolmore Stud
Coolmore Stud, in Fethard, South Tipperary in Ireland, is the world's largest breeding operation of thoroughbred racehorses. It was established in 1975....

 farm, most of whose horses are trained by Aidan O'Brien
Aidan O'Brien
Aidan Patrick O'Brien is an Irish horse racing trainer. Since 1996, he has been the private trainer at Ballydoyle Stables near Cashel in County Tipperary for John Magnier and his Coolmore Stud associates....

 in County Tipperary
County Tipperary
County Tipperary is a county of Ireland. It is located in the province of Munster and is named after the town of Tipperary. The area of the county does not have a single local authority; local government is split between two authorities. In North Tipperary, part of the Mid-West Region, local...

 in Ireland
Ireland is an island to the northwest of continental Europe. It is the third-largest island in Europe and the twentieth-largest island on Earth...

 and owned by John Magnier
John Magnier
John Magnier is Ireland's leading thoroughbred stud owner and has extensive business interests outside of the horse breeding industry....

 and/or Michael Tabor
Michael Tabor
Michael B. Tabor is a businessman and owner of Thoroughbred racehorses.-Thoroughbred racing career:...

, and the United Arab Emirates
United Arab Emirates
The United Arab Emirates, abbreviated as the UAE, or shortened to "the Emirates", is a state situated in the southeast of the Arabian Peninsula in Western Asia on the Persian Gulf, bordering Oman, and Saudi Arabia, and sharing sea borders with Iraq, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, and Iran.The UAE is a...

 based Godolphin stables
Godolphin Stables
Godolphin Racing is the Maktoum family's private thoroughbred horseracing stable and was named in honour of the Godolphin Arabian, who came from the desert to become one of the three founding stallions of the modern thoroughbred....

, owned by the Sheikh Mohammed
Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum
Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum , also Sheikh Mohammed, , is the Prime Minister and Vice President of the United Arab Emirates , and absolute monarch of Dubai.-Personal life and education:...

 and his brothers but based during the summer in Newmarket, England.

Flat racing in Great Britain

In Great Britain
Great Britain
Great Britain or Britain is an island situated to the northwest of Continental Europe. It is the ninth largest island in the world, and the largest European island, as well as the largest of the British Isles...

, (and the majority of Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

) flat racing is split into two distinctive bands, conditions races and handicaps.
  • Conditions races
    Conditions races
    Conditions races are horse races where the weights carried by the runners are laid down by the conditions attached to the race. Weights are allocated according to; the sex of the runners, with female runners carrying less weight than males; the age of the runners, with younger horses receiving...

    are further split into:
    • Pattern races
      • Group 1 - (Classics and other races of major international importance)
      • Group 2 - (less important international races)
      • Group 3 - (primarily domestic races)
    • Listed races - have less prestige than the group races but are still more important than handicaps.
  • Handicap races
    Handicap races
    A handicap race in horse racing is a race in which horses carry different weights, allocated by the handicapper. A better horse will carry a heavier weight, to give him or her a disadvantage when racing against slower horses...

    - where the Jockey Club
    Jockey Club
    The Jockey Club is the largest commercial organisation in British horseracing. Although no longer responsible for the governance and regulation of the sport, it owns 14 of Britain's famous racecourses, including Aintree, Cheltenham and Newmarket, amongst other concerns such as the National Stud and...

     official handicapper gives horses a different weight to carry according to their ability, are the bread and butter daily races although some of these are also quite prestigious.

Classic Races - In British horse racing, The Classics are a series of horse races run over the flat (i.e. without jumps). Each classic is run once each year and is restricted to horses that are three years old; two of them are further restricted to fillies only. There are five Classic races:
  • 2,000 Guineas Stakes
  • 1,000 Guineas Stakes
  • Epsom Oaks
    Epsom Oaks
    The Oaks Stakes is a Group 1 flat horse race in Great Britain open to three-year-old thoroughbred fillies. It is run at Epsom Downs over a distance of 1 mile, 4 furlongs and 10 yards , and it is scheduled to take place each year in early June....

  • Epsom Derby
    Epsom Derby
    The Derby Stakes, popularly known as The Derby, internationally as the Epsom Derby, and under its present sponsor as the Investec Derby, is a Group 1 flat horse race in Great Britain open to three-year-old thoroughbred colts and fillies...

  • St. Leger Stakes
    St. Leger Stakes
    The St. Leger Stakes is a Group 1 flat horse race in Great Britain which is open to three-year-old thoroughbred colts and fillies. It is run at Doncaster over a distance of 1 mile, 6 furlongs and 132 yards , and it is scheduled to take place each year in September.Established in 1776, the St. Leger...

See also

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